Fair Isle’s new energy system is officially unveiled today, with islands minister Paul Wheelhouse expected to give his full backing to the new technology which offers the island 24-hour electricity for the first time.
As reported in The Shetland Times last week, the system is already operating and uses turbines, solar panels and battery storage to provide the island’s 55 inhabitants with round-the-clock power.
The £3.5 million project, led by Fair Isle Electricity Company (FIEC), secured £1.5 million funding from the Scottish government’s low carbon infrastructure transition programme (LCITP) and £250,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Mr Wheelhouse said: “Those of us living on the mainland of Scotland can often take reliable supplies of electricity for granted. This has never been possible for the islanders of Fair Isle.
“The reality of having, for the first time in their history, 24-hour supplies of electricity presents exciting prospects for the Fair Isle community, who will not only benefit from access to a reliable electricity supply around the clock, but also now have in place a new cleaner, greener energy system.
FIEC company director Robert Mitchell said: “As an important project in a fragile rural area, having reliable renewable power will make a huge difference now and in the future, and we hope that it will encourage more people to come and live on the island. It also provides a great opportunity for more businesses to start here.
“The new energy system will be cleaner and greener and will reduce reliance on expensive diesel, hence making living costs more sustainable. It’s an ambitious project and is another step in ensuring that the community of Fair Isle continues to thrive.”